Pretty sure we just made "Tumblr-wave" up.
The third installment of ROFLCon just happened in Boston this past weekend. It's the festival where the memes we've laughed at all year crawl out of our computer screens and into the corporeal world on some Ringu shit. I interviewed a couple of them beforehand, and quite frankly, it was a little disorienting. There's an inherent problem in interacting with someone who's famous on the internet. You don't necessarily want a meme to become a person, because while a meme is funny, a person is just a dumb old human being.
This week's hot music meme, by the way, is Kitty Pryde, The Daytona Beach, Florida, rapper whose new track “Okay Cupid,” and the handful of songs she's put up on her BandCamp page in the last year, are the funnest, and funniest, rap tracks I've heard in recent memory.
It took me a few listens to figure that out though. At first it just seemed like another funny, “swagged-out” teenager riding Tumblr-wave adderall-core vibes with syrup beats and manic internal rhyme schemes. She's young, pretty, smart, funny, and eminently bloggable. But any reservations I had about whether or not she was actually any good were quickly put to rest once I started listening to the rest of the songs:
“Right after I landed in LAX, I ran into my ex and he looked a little vexed. I said 'Is there a problem?' 'Yes. California hates you bitch why would you bother?' I just came for the fries with the carne asada, and to prove I can go a lot harder than Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada.”
That Kreayshawn shout-out is telling, because Kitty Pryde is basically the much sharper, self-aware, suburban high school version of Kreayshawn.
“I don't think I'm following in her footsteps or anything, but the same kind of thing is happening, like 'Oh she's cute, this makes me laugh. It's not good, but it's funny.' You send the link to your friends, and then it's a big joke. Which is good, that's what I wanted. But I want people to laugh with me, not laugh at me.”
That's not hard with lines that are packed with so much self-referential internet and pop culture in-jokes. “I spilled a little of your blood, I kind of want to lick it up. But I guess that wouldn’t be vegan, so let's just drive around and listen to some Sara and Tegan. You don't even know me this is only a dream, and I'm just thinking of your eyes, nothing to do with your semen.”
Of course it doesn't hurt her impending online lovefest, already well underway, that her subject matter is all so internetty. It's not hashtag rap, but reblog rap, ideas dragged and clicked over from one page to the next, assembled in incongruous collage—like an unfolding Tumblr of seizure-inducing gifs and the contradiction of a cute animal pic followed by a porn gif followed by a violent film still broadcast from within the frame of a teenager's messy bedroom. “I don't do it on purpose,” she says of that meme-style. “Maybe I just think in internet. Oh my god, that's horrible.”
Not horrible, just emblematic of how young people see the world now. How young is she though, because, uh, my friend wants to know if he's even allowed to like her music.
“Exactly that's the point. I kind of like the mystique of nobody knowing my real age, so I'm not going to tell you,” she says.
She wasn't old enough to drink at her recent gig at Total Bummer Festival in Orlando, we established that much. It's one of the few gigs she's done.
“All my shows have been horrible up to that. I just kind of spazz out. Afterwards I think about it, and think, 'Wow everybody probably thought that was dumb.' I think the other night I held it together.”
That's a common reaction, especially since she only started making music a little over a year ago.
“I get sent beats from literally every 16-year-old dude online, they just email them to me,” she says. “I have no idea how to make them myself. If I tried it would just sound awful.”
In the past few months, more established producers have started to catch on, like Beautiful Lou, who's worked on beats for Lil B and A$AP Rocky among others, and Friendzone. That's upped the page views on her songs considerably.
“I was already excited about the amount of people listening to my songs,” she says. “I was like, wow this is crazy, 200 people listened to my song! Then the day I came out with that 'Okay Cupid' song was like crazy. I don't know how it happened, but now it's been steadily growing. Like, famous people I never expected. I'm like, OMG it's so exciting. It's been like not even a month.”
Danny Brown, for example. “He tweeted at me! I'm so excited to have this person who's my idol know who I am.”
Congratulations, kid, you're going to be famous on the internet.
“Great. That's just what I wanted to do with my life,” she laughs.
The prospect of dealing with the internet and music biz is something she's going to have to get used to fast. Her father, a lawyer, has been supportive, but somewhat protective, naturally. “He doesn't listen to my music at all. He likes Pearl Jam and shit,” she says. “But he thinks this whole thing is cool. He's like thinking about going to entertainment law seminars.” She has a management team she trusts as well, which is definitely a good idea, the internet, and the music side of it, being the hive of shit-heads that it is.
“I don't like that idea. I just have this thing where I assume everyone is a good person and everyone is going to be nice to me, which I should grow out of.”
There's a lot more people like the guy from her track “Thanks Kathryn Obvious” than she probably knows.
“That asshole said he can't stand me on YouTube wearing some dumb Slayer band tee. Have fun dealing with my 6 fans. Fucker. Saying I copied Odd Future, what the fuck is wrong with you? I'm just a little girl, stop picking on me on the internet. Telling people to be mean to me on Last FM, OK? I'm telling on you.”
Sometimes it's easy to forget that memes are people too, some just blow up quicker than others.
With her family in tow and her brother as her DJ, she got lost on the way to the show in Orlando the other night. The bar was empty when she turned up. “I was like, great, I'm gonna play in front of five people, and I was like, that's fine, I don't care. But right before my set, everyone at the fest knew, and a million people showed up. And as soon as I finished playing they all left. I was like, wow this is crazy.”
Long story short: the internet.
Check out the documentary we made about ROFLCon here.